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Study and Life: How first year university students use their time

Abstract

Starting university changes the way students must structure their day. This study describes the patterns of time use of 444 Australian first year students and explores differences between gender and age groups. Overall, students were studying on average four hours per day (h/day), sleeping eight h/day and meeting Australian physical activity guidelines. A sizable portion of students’ days were spent engaging in ‘non-modifiable’ activities including self-care, chores and travel. Stereotypical gender and age differences were observed, with males accumulating significantly more screen-time (+68 minutes per day [min/d]) and physical activity (+21 min/d), while females did more chores (+18 min/d) and self-care (+26 min/d). Younger students slept more (+42 min/d), and did fewer chores (-43 min/d). Given there are strong associations between how students use their time and health, well-being and academic success, a better understanding of how students allocate their time on a day-to-day basis will enable more effective support for students in making these changes.

Published:
Section: Early Release
How to Cite
Richardson, A., King, S., Olds, T., Parfitt, G., & Chiera, B. (2018). Study and Life: How first year university students use their time. Student Success, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v10i1.437

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Author Biographies

University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Amanda Richardson is a current PhD candidate in the School of Health Sciences at the University of South Australia. Her PhD research is exploring predictors of first year student success; in particular the influence of students’ personal characteristics and their time use and the way these factors may influence both their academic and health outcomes during the first year. Amanda’s other research interests include the first year experience, first year pedagogies, and student health and wellbeing more generally.

UniSA College, University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Associate Professor Sharron King is the Academic Director and Deputy Head of UniSA College. The College provides a Foundation Studies Program and a range of Diplomas as enabling pathways to university degrees.

Sharron’s research interests focus primarily on students’ transition to university, their health and well-being and widening access to university for students who face educational disadvantage.

University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Tim Olds is a professor of behavioural epidemiology at the University of South Australia. His research interests have been in mathematical modelling of cycling performance, population and sports anthropometry, and more recently secular trends in the sleep, fitness, fatness, physical activity and food intake of children and adolescents. He is a regular columnist for Australasian Scientist, and has contributed to New Philosopher and The Conversation.

University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Gaynor Parfitt is an Associate Professor in Exercise and Sport Psychology. Her research interests include, chronic and acute effects of exercise on affective responses and well-being, motivational factors that may influence adoption and maintenance of exercise and physical activity and methods of exercise intensity regulation to maximise psychological and physical benefits.  Her research populations include those with chronic diseases (cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart disease) as well as sedentary and active individuals across the life-span. 

University of South Australia
Australia Australia

Dr Belinda Chiera has a PhD in Applied Mathematics and is a Lecturer in Statistics in the School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences, University of South Australia.  Belinda has a varied research background, borne from a passion for tackling challenging analytical problems encompassing, but not restricted to, the analysis of high-dimensional large data sets as applied to student analytics, social network analysis of high-dimensional communications networks and atmospheric air pollution modelling.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795